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    Expanding HIV and AIDS Drug Options

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    HIV Drugs continued...


    Non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs) bind to the RT protein. This disables it, keeping HIV from making copies of itself.

    The FDA has approved these NNRTIs:

    Efavirenz (Sustiva)
    Nevirapine (Viramune)
    Delavirdine (Rescriptor)
    Etravirine (Intelence)
    Edurant (rilpivirine)

    The FDA also approved two one-pill, once-a-day products to treat HIV. Atripla combines three different RT inhibitors (efavirenz + tenovir DF + emtricitabine). And Complera is a combination of Truvada (which combines the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors Emtriva and Viread) and the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor Edurant.

    2. Protease inhibitors (PI) interfere with an enzyme that HIV uses to create infectious viral particles.

    The FDA has approved these protease inhibitors:

    Brand Name Generic Name Abbreviation
    Agenerase amprenavir APV
    Aptivus tipranavir TPV
    Crixivan indinavir IDV
    Invirase saquinavir SQV
    Kaletra lopinavir + ritonavir LPV
    Lexiva fosamprenavir FPV
    Norvir ritonavir RTV
    Prezista darunavir DRV
    Reyataz atazanavir ATZ
    Viracept nelfinavir NFV

    Taking Invirase with Norvir has been linked to a potentially serious drug interaction causing an abnormal heart rhythm. Your doctor may recommend heart monitoring. Also, the FDA says that taking the hepatitis C drug Victrelis (boceprevir) and ritonavir (when also taking atazanavir, lopinavir, or darunavir) can potentially reduce the effectiveness of these drugs. Tybost (cobicistat) is a drug that helps protease inhibitors work better.

    3. Fusion inhibitors help block HIV's entry into healthy cells. At this time, Fuzeon (enfuvirtide), ENF, is the only one the FDA has approved.

    4. Entry Inhibitors also help block HIV's entry into healthy cells. Currently, maraviroc (Selzentry) is the only FDA-approved drug, but others are in late stage clinical trials.

    5. Integrase inhibitors block insertion of viral DNA into the host cell DNA. Currently, Isentress (raltegravir), Vitekta (elvitegravir), and Tivicay (dolutegravir) are the only FDA-approved drugs, but others are in clinical trials. Dolutegravir is part of a combination pill called Triumeg, which also includes abacavir and lamivudine.

    How to Take HIV Drugs

    There are many types of HIV drugs. Your doctor will provide you with specific directions for the medications you take. However, remember these important points:

    • Take all your HIV medication exactly as directed. Never even miss one dose. If you don't take them as directed, you may develop resistant strains of HIV, and your medication may stop working.
    • Check with your pharmacist or doctor about whether or not you should take your medications on an empty stomach. Taking them the right way can reduce side effects.
    • Tell your pharmacist or doctor about any dietary supplements or other medications you take. Some can interact with your HIV medications.
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